by Gray Graham
As you can imagine this is a question I have gotten a lot over the past couple of weeks. I have made comments about both in the past but after actually hands on time with them I will share my views. Keep in mind this will be for the average logically thinking person not necessarily those that make purchase decisions based on what everyone else is doing or what is the hot product right now.
Let's start with the Amazon Kindle Fire because it is new and is the one that has the hot press. Many reports out there say that it is the hottest tablet in demand right after the iPad with analysts saying 6 million have/will be made. And this is just in the good ole US of A.
Now the reason so many of these are being sold is because they are $199. That price makes it less than a netbook and the same price as the iPod Touch. It also means it is $300 cheaper than the iPad. When you order it direct from Amazon it comes preloaded with all of your Amazon information so all your books, music, and video are there. It even comes preloaded with all the apps you need to get started. Most people in the tech world will say that Amazon hit a slam dunk with the Fire and right now it seems like they may be right.
Next we will talk about the Nook Tablet which is just a renamed Nook Color. The Nook Color has been a hit for a year. It has been the second most popular tablet behind the iPad. For the follow up Barnes and Noble (here after referred to as B&N) made sure that all the specs of the Nook Tablet were better than the Kindle Fire. It also has an expansion slot that allows you to add a SD card for storage of pictures and stuff that the Kindle Fire does not. Although B&N does books well especially children's books, they are smaller than Amazon so they do not have music and videos so they made sure that the Nook Tablet comes with Netflix, Pandora, Hulu Plus and other 3rd party apps so you can continue to use the services you already have.
Now I could go into more detail specs but the average person doesn't understand or even care about those things so let's talk about what they do care about.
How they are the same.
They both surf the internet.
They both play video.
They both play music.
They are the same size.
No cameras at all, front or back
No access to Google Android Market officially (they both run Android though they hide it)
No USB, HDMI slots
What makes them different.
Kindle Fire $199 Nook tablet $249
Fire only has 8GB onboard storage Nook Tablet has 16GB + SD expansion slot for up to 32GB
Nooks screen looks a lot better than the Fire
Early reports say that the Nook Tablet has been able to load apps from the Android Market but B&N does not say it does offically.
So as you can see they have a lot in common but the one you should get out of the two is the Nook Tablet. Books looks so much better than on the Fire and B&N does a better job with children's books. Also you can read the books anywhere on any device while Amazon books are a proprietary file only used by Amazon. Also the additional storage really will make a difference if you want to carry music and pictures around. You will hear a lot of people talk about Amazon Prime, but if do not already have that service which I would say the average person doesn't then you would have to purchase it for an additional $79. If you already have Netflix and Hulu Plus there really is no reason to do that. Amazon Prime can cause impulse buying which is a very bad problem for many people so I would not encourage that service.
I will say that unless you just have to have a tablet now, I would hold off on buying either of these tablets. There are a couple of Android tablets from companies like Lenovo, Toshiba, and Samsung that are pure Android that will give you access to both the Amazon and B&N apps so you can access the content from both. Also they will come with cameras and you probably will be able to upgrade them to newer operating systems like the new Android Ice Cream Sandwich you hear everyone talking about. Add to that they come with HDMI and USB, they are better all around devices. There are many sales out there of Android tablets for the holidays for even less than $199.
And don't forget about the Blackberry Playbook which the Fire is a copy will be sold for $199 and you will be able to run Android apps on it. Also the Nook Color is still available for $199 and will get the new software update that will make it a great value.
The good thing about all of these devices are they are not too expensive like tablets like the iPad have been and they come in a package that actually works for the average person allowing you to take anywhere. Competition really is good for the consumer. Enjoy the freedom of choice.